Russell Watson’s tumour felt ‘like a knife’ in his face
Masked Singer: Russell Watson ‘knows’ Traffic Cone is Aled Jones
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While the tumour was benign, meaning it wasn’t cancerous, the lesion still caused severe headaches that felt “like a knife” being pressed into him. Watson explained that symptoms began in 2005, when the headaches pierced “into the bridge of [his] nose”. The 56-year-old told Smooth Radio that a deterioration of his peripheral vision soon followed in 2006.
Famed as a tenor singer, he was on his way to record a new album in LA, when the pressure from flying got too much.
Sent off for an MRI scan in America, a pituitary adenoma was discovered, which was the size of two golf balls.
Describing the tumours as “a figure of eight”, Watson said: “One [was] filling the frontal cavity of my skull [while] the other forced through into the top of my nose.”
Going under the operating table for five hours, Watson thought his troubles were over once the eight centimetre tumour was removed, but he was wrong.
“My mood swings went from ecstatic to suicidal,” Watson recalled. ” I remember one night standing on the balcony…
“Full of dark thoughts and self-pity, thinking, ‘God, this is f**king terrible, why me?’
“I went back to bed, couldn’t sleep, got up again. I thought I’d had enough.”
Suddenly incapacitated in October 2017, another MRI scan revealed that the tumour had grown back and there was a bleed on the brain.
Undergoing emergency surgery, the tumour was removed, and Watson had extensive rehabilitation, which included radiotherapy.
A benign pituitary tumour
Cancer Research UK attests that “most pituitary tumours [also known as pituitary adenomas] are benign”.
“The pituitary is a small gland that lies in a hollow, just behind the eyes,” the charity explains.
“It controls many body functions by making and releasing hormones into the bloodstream.”
Part of the endocrine system, pituitary tumours can lead to “changes to your eyesight”.
If the pituitary tumour makes hormones, the symptoms will depend on the type of hormone created.
For example, if prolactin is made, it can lead to a loss of sex drive, difficulty getting an erection, and infertility.
“The treatment you need depends on the type of pituitary tumour you have. It also depends on how well you are and your symptoms,” Cancer Research UK adds.
Thankfully for Watson, his second surgery was a success, which meant he could continue living his life.
Most recently, the English tenor has released his latest album, Christmas With Aled and Russell, which is out now.
Watson will appear on ITV’s James Martin’s Saturday Morning, on December 3, at 9.30am.
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